Nasdaq Picks Amazon's Public Cloud for Record Storage

Nasdaq is launching a cloud-based system hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) designed to let broker-dealers store critical records and meet compliance requirements, it announced this week.

This wouldn't be the first stock market exchange to turn to the cloud -- the New York Stock Exchange launched a community cloud last year -- but Nasdaq's decision will test the limits of using a major public cloud service to host sensitive data. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on September 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments Plans Expansion into Other Businesses -- Next Year CEO Marc Benioff is trying to dispel the notion that his company is a one-trick pony.

At the annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco last week, Benioff told 90,000 attendees and the thousands more who tuned in to his keynote via a Facebook feed that he plans to expand his company's Software as a Service (SaaS) applications well beyond customer relationship management -- the foundation of's business. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on September 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Racemi Launches Server Image Migration Service

Racemi, a company that offers software to move Windows and Linux images from one bare-metal server to another, recently added cloud migrations to its portfolio. The company's new Cloud Path is a software as a service (SaaS) offering that lets administrators move server images to public cloud services.

Admins can use Cloud Path from a Web browser to migrate physical and virtual servers to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud providers. Atlanta-based Racemi claims migrations will cost on average $800 less than performing manual re-imaging of data. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on September 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

What Makes Windows Server 2012 a 'Cloud OS'

When Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Server 2012 last week, it described the release as heralding the start of the company's cloud OS era. In a carefully scripted, pre-recorded webcast, Microsoft executives illuminated the cloud characteristics of its new server OS.

Marketing hype aside, the release of Windows Server 2012 culminates a four-year engineering effort to build a common architecture for IT to develop and deploy applications on private, hybrid and public clouds. Microsoft has talked up the combination of Windows Server and System Center as a platform for private and hybrid clouds for some time. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on September 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM4 comments

A Cloud Boom, Despite Security Worries

Security concerns might be the top inhibitor to using public cloud services, but the horses may have already left the barn.

A global survey of 4,000 executives and IT managers found nearly half (49 percent) already use cloud services to store sensitive or confidential information, and another 33 percent plan to do so over the next two years. Only 19 percent said they don't, according to the survey, conducted by research consultancy Ponemon Institute and commissioned by Thales, a Microsoft ISV that provides security and encryption software and services. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Rackspace Releases Free Software to Build Private Clouds

Rackspace is now offering free software that lets anyone build private clouds based on the same platform that runs its cloud hosting service.

Alamo, codenamefor the company's Rackspace Private Cloud Software, is now available as a free download. The release, issued this week, marks a key milestone in Rackspace's plan to transition its cloud portfolio from its proprietary infrastructure to OpenStack, the open-source project the company helped launch with NASA two years ago.

Earlier this month, Rackspace completed the conversion of its server compute infrastructure running its public cloud service to OpenStack.

By offering its OpenStack-based software free of charge, Rackspace is betting that it will seed enterprise deployments of private clouds based on its open source solution. In turn, Rackspace is hoping enterprise customers will subscribe to its support services while also using its public cloud infrastructure for cloudbursting, the deployment model a growing number of those running datacenters are employing when they need capacity during peek periods.

Jim Curry, general manager of Cloud Builders, Rackspace's private cloud organization, explained Alamo is geared to those looking to build such clouds to those who don't have backgrounds with OpenStack. "To date most of the market for OpenStack has been people who were experts in it," Curry said. "We wanted to make it so a systems administrator who doesn't know anything about OpenStack and maybe knows a little bit about cloud, can easily get an OpenStack cloud up and running so they can evaluate and determine if it's a good solution on the same day." Curry said the software can be deployed in an hour.

Customers can opt for additional fee-based services, starting with Escalation Support, which starts at $2,500 plus $100 per physical node per month. At the next level, Rackspace will offer proactive support, which will include monitoring, patching and upgrading. Then sometime next year, Curry said Rackspace plans to offer complete management of OpenStack-based private clouds. The company hasn't set pricing for those latter offerings.

The initial Alamo software consists of the standard Essex release of OpenStack Nova compute infrastructure services, the Horizon dashboard, the Nova Multi Scheduler, Keystone authentication and the standard APIs. It also includes the Glance Image Library (a repository of system images), the Ubuntu-based distribution of Linux from Canonical as the host operating system with KVM-based virtualization and Chef Cookbooks from Opscode, which provide various OpenStack-based configuration scenarios.

In addition to supporting the Ubuntu distribution of Linux, Rackpace indents to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux with its OpenStack release, made available for testing this week. That support will come later in the year. A later release will also add support for SWIFT-based object storage, according to Curry.

Asked if Windows Server support is in the works, Mike Aeschliman, Rackspace Cloud Builders head of engineering, said not at this point. "To be honest, I think we will stick with Linux for a while because that's what the market is asking of us," Aeschliman said.

As for Rackspace's outreach to its channel of systems integration partners, Curry said they are aware of Alamo but the company hasn't reached out further yet. "We absolutely want to do that," Curry said. Because Rackspace's Alamo software is "plain-vanilla" OpenStack, the company plans to look to its partners to customize, or fork, it, and contribute it back to the community, Curry said.

Rackspace plan is to leverage its SIs to provide customization services, consulting, application migration and API integration into billing systems he explained. "These are not things we specialize in," he said. "We don't want to be the guys that do that work. We have great partners to do that."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Red Hat Issues OpenStack Preview

Red Hat Software released the Technology Preview of its OpenStack software targeted at service providers and enterprises looking to build infrastructure as a service (IaaS) clouds based on the open source framework.

An early supporter of the two-year-old OpenStack project, Red Hat has kept a low public profile on its commitment to the effort. In its announcement Monday, the company pointed out it was the #3 contributor to the current Essex release of OpenStack.

"Our current productization efforts are focused around hardening an integrated solution of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenStack to deliver an enterprise-ready solution that enables enterprises worldwide to realize infrastructure clouds," said Brian Stevens, RedHat CTO and vice president for worldwide engineering, in a statement.

Red Hat sees IaaS and OpenStack complimenting its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization software. While the former provides the infrastructure to manage hypervisors in a self-service provisioning cloud model, RHEV targets servers, SANs and provides typical enterprise virtualization functions, the company said in a blog post.

OpenStack is a component of Red Hat's cloud stack. While it addresses, IaaS, Red Hat's cloud portolio also includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux, RHEV, its JBoss application middleware and OpenShift, which provides the company's framework for platform as a service (PaaS).

Red Hat plans to deliver its OpenStack release next year. The Technology Preview is available for download.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Infosys Unveils Cloud Ecosystem Hub

Microsoft systems integrator partner and IT consulting giant Infosys recently launched its Cloud Ecosystem Hub, which is designed to help enterprises build, deploy and manage hybrid clouds.

The Infosys Cloud Ecosystem Hub combines the global company's consulting and development resources with the assets of the over 30 partners currently in the program, including Microsoft, VMware, Amazon Web Services, CA Technologies, Dell, Hitachi Data Systems, HP and IBM. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 14, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Woz Fears the Cloud, But You Don't Have To

Steve Wozniak's statement this past weekend that cloud computing could cause "horrible problems" has gone viral, but with all due respect to the visionary Apple co-founder -- take his fears with a grain of salt.

Wozniak gave the off-the-cuff remark after performing in Mike Daisey's theatrical presentation "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," which exposes the labor conditions at Foxconn, the key manufacturer of Apple products in China. According to, a news service covering science and technology, Wozniak revealed his concern over the growing trend of storing data in cloud-based services in a response to an audience question after the performance, which took place at the Woolly Mammoth theater in Washington, D.C. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 09, 2012 at 11:59 AM2 comments

Parts of HP's Public Cloud Hit General Availability

After talking up its plans to offer a public cloud service for well over a year, Hewlett-Packard has made the first two components of its HP Cloud generally available.

As of Aug. 1, customers can purchase the HP's Cloud Object Storage and CDN. The company is backing the service with a 99.95 percent service level agreement. If the service can't meet that SLA, HP will offer customers credits. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 08, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

VMware May Be Launching Its Own Public Cloud

Another major public cloud could be in the works.

CRN recently reported that VMware plans to build out a public cloud that would compete with Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google and Rackspace. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 06, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

How VMware Is Ushering in the Next Phase of the Cloud

VMware's acquisition of software defined networking (SDN) pioneer Nicira caps a string of moves that piece together the company's go-forward mission of automating the datacenter and creating next-generation clouds.

Kicking off what could prove to be key milestones for VMware was its July 2 announcement it is acquiring DynamicOps, a cloud automation provider renowned for its support of multiple virtual environments. Then came last week's shocking news that VMware CEO Paul Maritz, who has led the company through stellar growth during his four-year tenure, is stepping aside to become chief strategist of the company's parent EMC. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 30, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments